To say Pat Hoban has been a sensation this season would be an understatement. His club Dundalk will travel to Dublin on Friday to take on Bohemians in what will be their final league game of the season. The Louth side have already wrapped up the league title and will try to add the FAI Cup when they take on rivals Cork City in the decider on November 4th. If Pat Hoban manages to score in Dalymount this Friday he will beat Brendan Bradley’s record of 29 league goals in a season. That record has stood for the last 42 years. Last time out Dundalk defeated Sligo Rovers 5-0 at Oriel Park, Hoban grabbed two goals to take him to 29 league goals, equalling Bradley’s record.
Pat rejoined Dundalk at the start of this season after a trying spell in England. The Galway native scored 34 goals in 60 appearances for the Lilywhites in 2013/2014 covering two seasons. That form attracted the attention of clubs in England and Scotland and the hitman would join Oxford Utd in League Two in 2014. Unfortunately for Hoban, he would be injured in his first training session for the club. He was out for three months and didn’t make his debut until January 2015. This cursed beginning proved to be a bad omen for the attacker. In 43 appearances for the U’s he only managed 3 goals. He had short loan stints at both Stevenage and Grimsby before joining Mansfield Town in 2016/17. Again, not the best of records as he scored 4 goals in 21 appearances before rejoining Stephen Kenny at Dundalk.
Ultimately Hoban never really settled in England despite being more than good enough. Sometimes players find homes were they are well suited too and a manager. It is fair to say that the surroundings and people at Dundalk suit Pat. Dundalk lost top scorer David McMillan to Scottish side St. Johnstone and having finished second the season before, Kenny needed a prolific goalscorer. Hoban would go on and surpass the achievements of his previous spell. The 27-year-old has struck 32 times in 39 games in all competitions this season. That’s an average of 0.82 goals per game. Dundalk themselves have an average of 5.98 shots per game this season. Although they have been creative, Hoban hasn’t had bucket loads of opportunities in every match. Lethal in front of goal would describe his form perfectly.
But it’s not all about goals for Pat. His hold up and link up play this season have been outstanding. Midfielders Michael Duffy and Robbie Benson have scored 13 and 9 goals respectively. Both players are often working off Hoban and the addition of the Galway man has suited their game.
Date With Destiny
So can Hoban grab that priceless goal that will see him become the all-time top scorer outright in Irish League history? No doubt if there is a penalty at Dalymount this Friday only one man will be taking it. 42 years is a long time to hold a record in football, but I for one will not bet against Pat Hoban this Friday.